War of the Worlds—A Very
with a Totally Different Kind of
by The Blonde and The
Wells published his novel The War of the Worlds in 1898.
Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre Troupe performed it
live on the radio in 1938. Gene Barry starred in the
George Pal-produced and Byron Haskin-directed 1953
version which garnered three Oscar nominations and won
one for special effects.
Spielberg directed his adaptation of the story in 2005.
Tom Cruise (Collateral and Minority Report) stars as Ray
Ferrier, a divorced dock worker and less than perfect
father. He's going to have his kids for the weekend so
that his remarried ex-wife Mary Ann, played by Miranda
Otto (Lord of the Rings and What Lies Beneath) and her
husband can take a weekend off and visit her parents
(who are played by Gene Barry and Ann Sheridan from the
original 1953 version). His son Robbie, portrayed by
Justin Chatwin (Super Babies and Taking Lives) is a
sullen teenager with some serious resentment towards his
dad. (TYPICAL TEENAGER). Ray's young daughter Rachel,
played by Dakota Fanning (Man on Fire and Hide and Seek)
is more tolerant and understanding of her dad's flaws.
Soon after the kids arrive, a freak
lightening storm has everyone hiding under the table.
When things quiet down, Ray goes to the inner section a
few blocks away where the lightening seemed to strike
many times. What ensues there so unwinds Ray's sense of
security that he is barely coherent when he tells his
kids they're leaving. The Ferrier family is now on a
flight through chaos for their very survival.
Much of the film focuses on the
obliteration of social control, individually and
globally. Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (The Terminal,
Minority Report, and husband of actress Holly Hunter)
takes you into the action. In one scene, the Ferrier
family is speeding away in the only working car, and the
camera pivots around the car, moves close for dialogue,
then pulls back for a longer view, and moves back for
more dialogue. The whole scene was dazzling! The special
effects come from the studios ILM, and the editing is
superb, done by Michael Kahn (Artificial Intelligence
and Minority Report). The Morgan Freeman opening and
ending narration is direct from the H.G, Wells novel.
This film’s “close encounters” are
sometimes a little too close for comfort and NO ONE is
calling home! Go see if you can sink your jaws into this
Blonde: War of the Worlds was like the original War of
the Worlds meets Independence Day and Armageddon meets
The Day After Tomorrow meets A Close Encounter and VERY
MEAN E.T.s meet The Thing! What a “super-dee-duper”
movie! That Spielberg is such a BOOB-A-LA!
Maven: AH, BLONDE, I think you mean bubala!
Blonde: NO! I know exactly what I mean! He is a
BOOB-A-LA ! I SIMPLY ADORE HIM! I have a question,
however. Why do they call it special effects? The
effects are NOT always SO special in every movie. Now,
in this film, they were MORE than special. So that makes
me feel limited to just special effects, when they are
actually extraordinary effects. Oh, HOLLYWOOD! Anyway,
movie fans, this was an exciting movie experience,
effects and all!
Maven: Needless to say, as a science fiction reader and
moviegoer, I wasn't about to miss this one. Spielberg
has a way of making indescribable nightmares both
realistic and compelling. Here you have an ordinary guy
and his children coping with a full-scale alien
invasion. The story alone is provocative in that the
things we consider OUR security, i.e. the government and
the armed forces, were totally ineffective. Independence
Day started out that way, but the Air Force and the
President helped to save the day. Here, society falls
apart. It's every man for himself!
Blonde: Welcome to BOCA!
Maven: With the specter of terrorism and nuclear
weapons, we live in perilous times. All the security
protocols in the world mean nothing against an
apocalyptic invasion from a scientifically superior life
form. Thank God for germs, is all I can say.
Blonde: Too bad the aliens didn't know about Air-Borne
(the multi-herbal pill you throw in water that fights
off those germs). Hey Mav, do you think that there are
aliens on other planets? Personally, I believe there are
aliens living on this planet. In fact, I think I married
a few! Anyway, before seeing this film, I heard other
critics state that Tom's performance was weak. I say,
“Ooh contraire!” I thought he had more range and depth
than ever before. I never quite totally believed him in
any of his roles before, but I did in this one! Hello!
Spielberg wouldn't let any of his actors EVER get away
with a less than stellar performance.
Maven: Cruise's Ray stayed true to form through the
whole film. He's an irresponsible adult who lives day to
day. Throughout the movie, he's just trying to keep his
children and himself alive. He could care less about
killing aliens, a fact that irks his son. Ray isn't a
warrior, but when his daughter is in harm’s way, he
nevertheless puts himself in danger hoping to rescue
her. In the end, he is exhausted from just
Blonde: I know how he feels!
Maven: He's not a hero. He doesn't find a way to destroy
the aliens. All that's changed is that HE was
responsible for keeping his daughter alive.
The Blonde: WHAT A GUY! I wonder if Steven
felt as much affection toward Dakota as he felt toward
Drew Barrymore filming E.T.? They both are adorable,
bright, and precocious. By the way, you never answered
my alien question!
Maven: I am constantly amazed at the depth of emotions
Dakota Fanning can emote. At her age, she is equal to
any adult actress out there today. She has worked with
Denzel, De Niro, Penn, and now Cruise. What can we
expect from her teenage years?
Blonde: She is brilliant and blessed with a rare talent
to be natural and honest on screen. Not to mention how
lucky she is to have worked with the best actors of our
day! Now, what about my alien question?
Maven: If there are aliens, I am very upset that they
haven't contacted me! I would love to have them over for
tea and some experiments.
Blonde: What kind of tea are you serving? Moving right
along, for a science-fiction film, this one was
intensely vivid and realistic. You truly feel as if you
are inside the movie screen. The film actually pulls you
out from your theater seat and throws you into the film
itself like a Disney ride. I also must say that War of
the Worlds was quite scary at times. I'm kind of glad
that I didn't take my child to see it. At least in a
scary Chuckie film, you know it could never happen. This
film's topic has some potential for truth!
Maven: What I found disturbing was the similarities to
Blonde: So where was Katie Holmes in this film with all
the media hype?
Maven: In Tom's trailer watching him jump up and down on
Blonde: What a waist of a couch. If I were with Tom, I
would be doing more than just jumping on his couch. But
hey, that's just me!
Maven: This is a summer blockbuster movie that shouldn't
be missed. Some scenes are a little gruesome but,
overall, much of the action is original and
Blonde: Now that is the gruesome, original and
jaw-dropping reaction you would get if you saw me on
Maven: Prepare to be on the edge of your seat five
minutes into the film! I rate this film an A for awesome
effects and a fabulous roller coaster ride of
destruction, terror, and all out chaos.
Blonde: Prepare to be on the edge of your couch for the
whole ride! I rate War of the Worlds a B+. I would have
given it an A… but I didn't like the cheesy ending (I
think it made my cholesterol go up a bit)! For your
snacks… popcorn is a MUST and go ahead and have some
Mars Bars candy to go with the theme! And don't forget
to PHONE HOME!
P.S.: A perk for us Floridians, if we don't use
our hurricane supplies on the hurricanes, we will at
least be prepared for any alien attacks! Sorry,
generators are not
1. Tom Cruise stars as Ray Ferrier, a man
who would do anything to protect his family during a
catastrophic alien attack, in War of the Worlds,
directed by Steven Spielberg
MMV by PARAMOUNT PICTURES and DREAMWORKS
Photo by Andrew Cooper
Time for French
Arts and Entertainment
The Fort Lauderdale International Film
Festival (FLIFF) is presently screening the Annual
PERRIER French Film Festival, from July 22 through
August 7, 2005. The festival takes place at the Cinema
Paradiso, which is in my humble opinion, is possibly the
most charming and perfect place to house any film
endeavors in South Florida. Featured this year, Lucas
Belvaux’s popular trilogy which includes An Amazing
Couple (Un Couple Epatant), which will be the Opening
Night Film. Also on the roster are On The Run, the
adventures of a cop and a crook, After The Life (Apres
La Vie), The Dinner Game (Le Diner Des Cons) a hilarious
comedy about dumb people and food, and several classics
such as Belle du Jour and The 400 Blows (Les 400
One of my favorites was The Closet,
by Francis Veber, which is a smart, full of surprises,
wonderfully produced and directed film that will put
smiles on all movie lovers.
perfect for sitting in a cool movie house and enjoying
celluloid specials at their best.
For more information and a complete
schedule, visit www.cinemaparadiso.org or call
954-535-FILM for ticked prices and film
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